If you plan to do research of any kind, you must become intimate with the library, and conversant with the computer and the librarians.
The key to efficient use of the library is the willingness to work with the library staff who are there to provide assistance. Penn State's Pattee Library offers a forty minute tour--it is worth the trip.
If you need a book that the library does not contain, don't despair. Through an inter library loan system, you can get nearly any text within a few weeks. You can make arrangements for this at the check out desk.
Also, if you need a book that is currently checked out, you can recall
it. When you recall a text, a notice is sent to the individual who has
the book checked out. The holder of the text usually has approximately
ten days to return the book to the library. When the book has been returned,
the library will send a notice to your home.
The Library Information Access System contains data about the material in the library. It replaces, with few regrets from anyone, card catalogs. LIAS lets you discover what is in the library by author, subject, title or series. You can browse library shelves by entering the shelf command or limit your search to particular libraries or series. You can search for key words, like "motor voter".
On LIAS is a database called ERIC (produced by the U.S. Office of Education's Educational Resources Center---USOOEERC, the sound of a primal scream more easily nicknamed ERIC). This is a database focused on educational topics but it also includes psychology, social science, communications and professional development. ERIC contains indexes to more than 750 journals and contains summaries of many journal articles. Keyword searches on ERIC are especially helpful in locating the most recent information in print on a given topic.
You can also access UNCOVER via LIAS. UNCOVER indexes more than twelve thousand articles from a variety of fields and lets you scan the tables of contents of the periodicals.
In addition, LIAS holds book reviews from "Choice" magazine (since 1988) and the index to U.S. government publications (since 1976).
You can access LIAS twenty-four hours a day off campus with a computer,
a communications program set to dial (865-5427) and a modem.
INTERNET and the EBB
The Internet is a computer highway that is worth your effort to map. You can access Internet through one of the universities on-campus computer stations or through your own computer with a modem. You will need an authorized password which can be processed through your college.
Internet started life as a military communications bulletin board but was invaded, over time, by an International Network of users who now fiercely defend their access rights.
Internet allows you to communicate with people all over the world, to access prodigious data bases, and to spend long alienated hours trying to discover its sometimes arcane commands.
On the same access route to Internet, PSU maintains an Electronic Bulletin Board (EBB). But you do not need an account to enter the EBB which maintains a regularly updated calendar of PSU events, a phone directory, academic information, sports schedules, economic, financial and census information and limited legal data. Several instructors use the EBB to communicate with students.
You can gain information about Internet and the EBB from one of the
Help Desks of the Center for Academic Computing at 12 Willard (863-1035)
or 215 Computer Building (863-2494).
The Last Word
Winston Churchill, "Never give in. Never. Never. Never."
Keep writing. Don't quit.
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